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Hey, you're in the home improvement zone--YOUR HANDYMAN ZONE!

Security Systems and Tips Category

Improvement Project:

How to make a house safer for young children.

Tools / Materials (See Below for Applicability):

Guide:

Making your house safe, especially for your first child, should be a very high priority on your list of things to do.  There are obvious and then the subtle dangers of any house setting that should be addressed out of concern for your child's safety.

With the above in mind, here are just a few things that you should consider doing:

  • Bathtub safety.  You should never leave a child unsupervised in a bathtub.  Before allowing your child to bathe in a tub, check the temperature of the water in it to make sure that the water is not scolding hot and is otherwise suitable for your child.  The faucets and spout of the tub should be covered with soft cushioning; there are many types of tub faucet covers, so choose the one you find right for you.  Also, consider buying and installing anti-scald water valves on all of your water faucets (sinks, etc.).

  • Burn prevention.  There are many steps you can take to prevent your child from coming near a burning source that has great potential to do harm.  Prevent your child from playing with a stove's controls by buying and installing specially designed child proof stove control covers that go over the controls of the stove; follow the manufacturer's instructions.  Also, to prevent your child from opening the hot oven door, buy and install a heat-resistant oven door lock/latch; follow the manufacturer's instructions.  Seek businesses that sell a line of child proof devices for appliances, etc.

  • Cabinetry should be off limits.  Cabinets can be easily locked and opened by adults, and thus prevent children from gaining access inside them, with several types of locks, from magnetic locks and screwed-on latches that are either placed on the outside or the inside of such cabinets.

  • Crawling to walking stages.  From the moment when your child first starts to crawl

     

    and progressively learns how to walk on their own, you'll want to pay particular attention to items in your house that may pose a safety problem while your child advances their motor skills.  In the course of crawling and walking, your child may want to hold onto things while trying to move about.  With this in mind, make sure you temporarily store or otherwise keep out of reach things like over-extending, ground-reachable table cloths; tall-pole lamps; coat trees/coat racks; sharp-edged furniture--especially those that are sharp towards the bottom; and otherwise any sort of unstable piece of furniture that will fall should a child grab a hold of it.

  • Electrical cords and other cables.  Your electrical cords and other cables should be neatly organized so as to prevent your child from grabbing a hold of, and subsequently inadvertently strangling themselves with, a cord around their neck.  You also want to tightly control your electrical cords so that your child won't accidentally jerk on them so as to cause whatever are attached to such cords to fall on them.  To help prevent this from happening, bundle or otherwise tie up your electrical cords and other cables together, using cable ties to tie such cords to a stable structure, such as a table leg; you may also consider using specialized cord organizers or cable organizers, or even devices that shorten electrical cords.

  • Electrical outlets.  Buy electrical outlet caps to plug into unused outlets, and buy special outlet covers, such as Plug 'N Outlet Covers, that help secure plugs already plugged into outlets, too.

  • Furniture setting.  Deliberately position your furniture pieces in your house so as to discourage, and actually prevent, your child from climbing to dangerous heights.

  • Garage access should be off limits.  Inherently, because of the many numerous things usually found in a garage--sharp tools to toxic pesticides--a garage is no place for a child to be in, let alone to be in alone.  So, all doors leading to the garage should be able to close automatically.  The house door that leads to the garage should have a self-closing spring mechanism that closes the door every time you go through the doorway.  The garage door that automatically opens and closes with the push of a button should also have the relatively new technology that senses any sort of obstruction in its path and immediately reverses its movement as a safety measure in the event of such a detected obstruction or otherwise object in the way.

  • Medicine dangers.  Children and medicine certainly do not belong in the same room if there is no adult supervision and the medicine is not prescribed for them.  To have peace of mind and to prevent serious injury and even death, all medicine should be stored in child proof container, which can even be a metal toolbox with a lock on it; you can buy specially made child proof medicine boxes from stores specializing in child safety.

  • Staircases should be off limits.  If you have a staircase/stairway in your house, your child should not be in your house unless and until you have properly designed stair safety gates installed at the top and bottom of the stairway so as to prevent your child from gaining access to the stairway for obvious safety reasons; avoid getting the accordion type of gates because they can pose a potential safety hazard on their own to children.  You should also consider covering your staircase railings with mesh wire, secured with cable ties, so as to prevent children from sticking their heads in between the railings.

These are just some safety measures you can take in the interests of keeping your children safe at home.  Contact your pediatrician and local fire department for more information.  You may even want to contact your local Red Cross chapter and see if they offer any sort of child safety courses, such as those in which they teach you first aid for children.  You should never leave your child alone, as a responsible adult's supervision is the best safety measure.

Ed the Handyman

            &

Your Handyman Zone Team

 

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